Bert Bell

Bert Bell
Photograph of President Truman at his desk in the Oval Office, receiving his annual pass to National Football League... - NARA - 200160 (2).tif.jpg
Bell (center) with Washington Redskins owner George Marshall (right) presenting President Harry Truman an annual pass to NFL games in 1949.
Date of birth February 25, 1895(1895-02-25)
Place of birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of death October 11, 1959(1959-10-11) (aged 64)
Place of death Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Position(s) Head Coach
College University of Pennsylvania
Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1963

De Benneville "Bert" Bell (February 25, 1895 – October 11, 1959) was the National Football League (NFL) commissioner from 1946 until his death in 1959. As commissioner, he helped chart a path for the NFL to facilitate its rise in becoming the most popular sports attraction in the United States. For his innovations with the NFL, and his stewardship as commissioner, he was posthumously inducted into the charter class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

Bell began his formal days of playing football at the University of Pennsylvania in 1914. As the starting quarterback on the Penn Quakers, he led his team to the 1917 Rose Bowl. His college days were interrupted by a stint in the United States Army during World War I. After resuming, and then concluding, his college playing days, he became an assistant football coach with the Quakers and then the Temple Owls.

He became the co-founder and co-owner of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1933. There, Bell successfully proposed the creation of the NFL draft. He became the sole owner and coach of the Eagles in 1936 and then moved on to become part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1940. He was elected to be NFL commission in 1946 and subsequently sold his stake in the Steelers.

As NFL Commissioner, he acted as the principal spokesman for the NFL and persuaded owners to act cohesively to enhance the league's popularity and it's financial viability. He enacted an anti-gambling resolution into the NFL constitution. He negotiated the merger of the NFL with the AAFC. He developed regular season schedules with the purpose of increasing the competitive balance within the league. He enacted rule changes in the NFL to enhance the appeal of the game on television. He unilaterally recognized the NFLPA and assisted in negotiating the first pension plan for the players. The conclusion of his tenure as commissioner, and life, would abide barely enough for the playing of the Greatest Game Ever Played.


Early life

Bell was born de Benneville Bell,[1] on February 25, 1895[2] in Philadelphia to John C. Bell and Fleurette de Benneville Myers.[3] John C., an attorney in Philadelphia, was the city's District Attorney, (1903–1907) the Pennsylvania Attorney General (1911–1915) an author, and public speaker.[4] His older brother, John C. Jr., was born in 1892.[5] Bert's parents were very wealthy,[6] and his mother's lineage in the United States predated the American Revolutionary War.[7]

Bell's father (University of Pennsylvania, C' 1884)[8] played football as an end during his college days, and he brought Bert to his first football game at Penn, located a mile from their home, when he was six years old. Soon thereafter, Bert regularly engaged in football games with neighborhood friends. In 1904 Bert attended the Episcopal Academy.[9] About this time, his father became director of athletics at Penn[10] and helped form the NCAA.[11] Bell attended the Delancey School from 1909 to 1911. For high school, Bell enrolled in The Haverford School in 1911.[9] He was one of the best athletes in the school, and in his senior year he served as captain of the school's football, basketball, and baseball teams,[12][13] and "was awarded The Yale Cup, given to 'The pupil who has done the most to promote athletics in the school.'"[14] Although he excelled at baseball, his first passion was football. His father was named trustee at Penn in 1911 (until 1928).[15] and he said of Bert's plans for college, "Bert will go to Penn or he will go to hell."[11]

University of Pennsylvania

Bell entered Penn in the fall of 1914,[16] as an English major, and became a member of Phi Kappa Sigma.[17] He became the starting quarterback on the freshman Penn Quakers. His play earned him a position on the varsity for coach George H. Brooke as starting quarterback in 1915, an unusual occurrence for a sophomore.[16] He also played as a defender, punter, and punt returner.[18] After a 3-0 start, Bell began sharing quarterbacking duties until the seventh game. As a punt returner, his lack of speed caused him to fumble occasionally because he could not get set properly before catching the ball. After Brooke abruptly quit before the eight game, Bell regained the starting quarterback position.[19] Penn finished with a record of 3–5–2 in his first year on varsity.[20]

Fleurette passed away on September 24, 1916, while Bell was en route from campus to her bedside. Nevertheless, he started the first game of the 1916 season on September 30 for new coach Bob Folwell. But again mixed results by Bell caused him to be platooned for the rest of the season.[21] The team finished the regular season with a record of 7–2–1, 10th seed in the east.,[20] After Harvard, and then Yale, turned down an invitation to the 1917 Rose Bowl,[22] Penn was offered an invitation and accepted it.[13][23] In the game against the Oregon Ducks, Penn's total offensive yards for the game was 230 vs. 242 for Oregon.[24] The most successful offensive play for the Quakers was a 20 yard rushing gain by Bell.[25] Late in the game, Bell was replaced at quarterback after throwing an interception, from the Quaker's fifteen yard line that led to the final score, Oregon 14, Penn 0,[25] three plays later.[26] At the time, this game was considered to be the greatest football game ever played on the West Coast.[27] In the 1917 season, Bell led Penn to a 9–2–0 finish.[20]

On December 1, 1917, Bell was inducted into a Mobile Hospital Unit of the United States Army for World War I and after training, he was deployed to France in May 1918. As a result of his unit volunteering for one of several dangerous assignments, it received a congratulatory letter for bravery from General John J. Pershing. He was promoted to top sergeant and, after the war ended, arrived back in New York City in March 1919 with a discharge soon to be.[28] He returned to Penn as captain of the football team in the fall and again played erratically.[29] The Quakers finished 1919 with a 6–2–1 record.[20] His collegiate playing days were over, and he was viewed as having been, depending on sources, an above-average player to a borderline All-American candidate.[30][31] Off the field, Bell's aversion to attending academic classes caught up with him, and in February 1920 he left Penn without a degree.[32]

Early career

Bell became a backfield coach for Penn's coach John Heisman from 1920 to 1922. Under Heisman, he became well regarded as an assistant coach. After Penn's declaration as collegiate champions in 1924, Bell received offers for head-coaching positions, which he declined.[33] In 1928, Bell and assistant coach Lud Wray had a dispute regarding Quaker football strategy. Bell felt Young and Wray overemphasized scrimmages in practices during the season. Consequently, in November, Bell tendered his resignation, which was not accepted. Bell preferred to stay on at Penn, but his resignation was accepted prior to the start of the 1929 season.[34]

Late in Bell's career at Penn, his father set Bert up with at least one job, as a manager of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Around 1929, Bell become a stock broker and managed to lose approximately $50,000 during the Wall Street Crash of 1929. His father bailed him out of his losses, and Bell continued to work, or returned to working, at the Ritz for an unspecified period.[35] In December 1929, Bell announced he would become an assistant coach for Temple University for the next season. He was a backfield coach at Temple under head coach and former Penn teammate Heinie Miller for the 1930 through the 1932 season.[36] When Pop Warner was hired to coach Temple for the 1933 season,[37] he chose to hire his own assistants, and Bell was let go.[38]

During his coaching tenure at Penn and Temple, Bell spent most of his off time out drinking, socializing, and gambling. One of his favorite places was the Saratoga Race Course. He visited Saratoga every August as late as 1926, and there he counted among his friends and companions the Vanderbilts, the Whitneys, Tim Mara, Art Rooney, and George Preston Marshall, among others.[39] Marshall met Bell in Atlantic City in 1932 and tried to coax him into buying the rights for a new NFL franchise, but Bell promptly disparaged the NFL and ridiculed the suggestion.[40]

NFL career

Philadelphia Eagles

By about February 1933, Bell's opinion on the NFL had changed, and he wanted to become an owner. At the time, college football, played on Saturday, was vastly more popular than the NFL,[41] so Bell was told a prerequisite to a franchise being granted to him was the Pennsylvania Blue Laws would have to be changed to permit NFL games to be played on Sunday. Bell then played the primary role in getting the Blue laws deprecated.[42][43] Bell then needed money to purchase entry into the NFL but his father would not lend him any because he disapproved of football as a career.[44] So Bell borrowed money from Frances Upton, his future wife, which he used to partner with Wray, among others, and buy the rights to play in Philadelphia that the Frankford Yellow Jackets once held.[45] Bell named the franchise the Philadelphia Eagles, the partners paid the league entrance fee of $2,500 (presently, $42,384)[46] and agreed to guarantee the outstanding debt of the Yellow Jackets.[47][48] The Eagles, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cincinnati Reds entered the NFL for the start of the 1933 NFL season.[49]

Wray became head coach of the Eagles, and Bell became president.[50] After the Eagles inaugural 3–5–1 season,[51] a de facto segregation occurred in the NFL and African Americans would not return to the NFL until the 1946 NFL season[52][53] as the two remaining African Americans players would not return for the 1934 NFL season.[54] Bell's proposal to have the winner of the annual NFL championship game be awarded the Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy was accepted at the NFL owners meeting.[55] The Reds went bankrupt amid the 1934 season,[56] and the Eagles finished with a 4–7 record.[51] The lack of the Eagles' success on the field made it difficult to sell tickets and to be profitable.[57] Bell's inability to sign a college player to a contract[58] eventually led him to believe the only way to bring competitive parity and financial stability to the NFL was for all teams to have an equal opportunity to sign eligible players by instituting a draft.[59] In 1935, his proposal for a draft was accepted,[60] and on February 8, 1936, the first NFL draft began, at which Bell acted as master of the ceremony.[61]

Sometime after his father's death in 1935, Bell and his family moved into his father's estate in Radnor, Pennsylvania, which had been bequeathed equally to Bert and his brother. Bell's desire to maintain ownership of the Eagles amidst its financial losses from 1936 to 1938 eventually led him to convince his brother to sell their father's estate sometime around 1938. Bell and his family moved into a hotel, which was either previously owned by his father or presently owned by his father's estate, in Center City, Philadelphia.

In their first three years, the Eagles lost about $85,000 (presently, $1,347,301).[62] In the spring of 1936, the franchise was put up for public auction. Bell became sole owner with a winning bid of about $4,500 (presently, $71,328).[63][62] Austerity measures forced Wray to be let go, and Bell became head coach.[64] Bell made the 102,000-capacity Municipal Stadium the team's home field for the 1936 NFL season[65] and coached them to a 1–11 finish, still their worst record ever.[66] In December, an application for an NFL franchise in Los Angeles was denied because Bell and Rooney argued it was too far of a distance to travel for games,[67] but the Cleveland Rams were accepted for the 1937 NFL season.[68]

The Eagles finished with a 2–8–1 record.[69] With a 5–6 record in 1938, the franchise made its first profit, $7,000 (presently, $109,114).[70] The Eagles finished 1–9–1 in 1939 and 1–10 in 1940.[71]

Pittsburgh Steelers

In December of 1940, Bell negotiated a sale of the Rooney's Steelers to Alexis Thompson. In a series of events, eventually known as the Pennsylvania Polka,[72] Rooney and Bell ending up becoming equal partners in the Steelers after Rooney bought half of Bell's interest in the Eagles for $50,000 (presently, $783,095)[73] and then Bell and Rooney swapping franchise with Thompson.[74][75] Ostensibly, Rooney had provided financial assistance to Bell by granting him a 20% commission ($30,000 (presently, $469,857)) on the sale of the Steelers.[76]

Bell and Rooney apportioned $7,500 annual salaries for each of themselves, pursuant to the Steelers being profitable,[77] at the opening of training camp, Rooney was the general manager and Bell was the head coach.[78] In their inaugural season, Bell was resigned to the Steelers having a dreadful season after Rooney denigrated the team during training camp in a phrase that would soon morph into the "Same old Steelers"−(SOS).[79] After losing the first two games of the 1941 season, Rooney pressured Bell into resigning as head coach.[80] Bell's coaching career ended with a 10–46–2 record. For coaches with at least five years in the NFL, it was the worst record in NFL history.[81]

By 1943, 40% of NFL players had been drafted into the United States Armed Forces because of World War II. This shortage of players could have been eradicated if African Americans had been integrated into the teams.[82] Some owners wanted to shut down the league until the war ended, but Bell was one of the owners arguing against it because the league might not be able to jump start itself after the war, it was their duty as patriots to continue the league, and Major League Baseball was continuing its schedule.[83]

Consequently, the Steelers and Eagles were forced to pool their players to field a team and temporarily merge for the 1943 season,[84] into a team referred to as the Steagles.[85] The following season, the Steelers merged with the Cardinals in a team referred to as Card-Pitt.[86]

Throughout Bell's partnership in the Steelers, he suffered financially and Rooney bought an increasing share of the Steelers from Bell.[87] Compounding Bell's financial problems, in 1944, Arch Ward organized a group of investors to create the AAFC for the purpose of competing against the NFL.[88][89] Although the AAFC would not start its first season until the autumn of 1946[90][91], it immediately began battling the NFL to get the best players.[92] Consequently player salaries were immediately driven up drastically.[93][94] The NFL responded by creating a rule to ban players for five years from NFL-associated employment if they left the NFL to join the AAFC.[95] "Bullet" Bill Dudley attributed Bell's nervous nature, during his contract negotiations with the Steelers, a consequence of the AAFC's competition.[96] Furthermore at the end of the 1945 season, the Steelers franchise was in the most financially perilous position since it had entered the NFL.[97]

NFL commissioner

AAFC-NFL competition (1946-1949)

When Elmer Layden was hired as NFL commissioner in 1941, Ward was viewed as dictating the hiring of Layden.[98] Consequently, some of the owners believed Layden had a conflict of interest in dealing with the AAFC because Ward was seen as his benefactor.[99] Also, throughout 1945, Dan Topping, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Mara, had been feuding because Mara would not permit Topping to use Yankee Stadium as his home field, due to the stadium's proximity to the Giants home field, the Polo Grounds.[100] As a result of this feud, Topping took his Dodgers from the NFL to the AAFC.[101][102] The rise in player's salaries as a result of the competition from the AAFC,[103] Layden's perceived unconcerned attitude about the threat of the AAFC, and Topping's departure contributed to Layden getting fired on January 11, 1946.[104][92] Bell, who was not well respected in the Pittsburgh at the time,[105] was selected to replace Layden.[81][106]

On January 12, 1946, Bell's selection to commissioner became official;[107] Bell had become the second commissioner of the NFL.[108] Bell was given a three-year contract by the NFL at $20,000 (presently, $224,889) per year[109] and consequently sold his stake in the Steelers to Rooney,[110] albeit for a price Bell did not believe was full-value.[111] Bell was then immediately placed at the center of a dispute wherein the owners refused to permit Dan Reeves to transfer the Cleveland Rams to Los Angeles. Bell help negotiate a settlement and, as a result, the Los Angeles Rams were created.[112] and the NFL had become the first professional coast-to-coast sports enterprise.[112] The Rams subsequently signed Kenny Washington, an African American, to the team, as a precondition to leasing the Los Angeles Coliseum, and thereby ending racial segregation in the NFL. The signing of Washington caused "'all hell to break loose...'" among the owners, although no details are provided what that entailed.[113]

The drawing up of the NFL schedule had been a perennial source of contention in the NFL.[114] Developing a season schedule meant dealing with, depending on sources, either teams wanting to play only teams that drew the best crowds at home and when visiting,[115] or stronger teams wanting to play the weaker ones early in the season to pad their win-loss records.[116] The owners, consequently in 1946, granted Bell the sole discretion in developing the NFL playing schedule.[117][118][119] Bell created the schedules so that, at the start of the season, the weaker teams would play against each other and the stronger teams would play each other. Bell's goal was to augment game attendances by keeping the disparity in team standings to a minimum for as long as possible.[116][119]

Filchock-Hapes scandal

The day before the 1946 Championship game, Bell became aware that Merle Hapes of the Giants had admitted he was offered a bribe to fix the game and Frank Filchock of the Giants had denied being offered one.[120] Hapes was suspended by Bell, but Filchock was permitted to play in the game.[121] At the NFL meeting the day after the game, Bell became worried he was about to be fired when when the owner's asked him to step outside.[122] When he returned, he was advised his contract was changed to a five-year pact at $30,000 per year.[123] At the same meeting with the purpose of adding excitement to the NFL, Bell persuaded the owners to approve a sudden-death overtime for playoff games only.[124] Also, although there was only about 60,000 sets in the country,[125] he was given the task of approving each TV announcer, before they could be employed to announce a game.[126] However, each NFL franchise was empowered to market its own games with television broadcasting companies.[127][126]

Bell announced plans to get as much legislation written across the country to make it illegal to fix games.[128] He then lobbied to do so and also wrote the anti-gambling resolution to the league constitution, which was immediately approved[129] As a result, the commissioner's office could permanently ban any player for betting on a game or for withholding information on a game being possibly fixed.[130] Under oath weeks later, Filchock testified to being offered a bribe.[131] Subsequently, Filchock and Hapes were suspended indefinitely by Bell.[132] Bert put employees on retainer to investigate potential betting scams.[133] To prevent gamblers from getting any inside information, he mandated that each team had to publish an injury report, 48 hours prior to each game, listing the players who may not, or could not, play,[134] and Bell did not reveal the names of officials he would assign to games.[135] Not long after, Pennsylvania became the last state with an NFL franchise to pass a law making it a crime to bribe an athlete.[136]

Although Bert hated to fly,[137] as late as the mid 1950s, Bell visited the training camps of every team, each year, and made it a point to discuss with the danger gamblers posed to the league.[138]

AAFC-NFL merger and initial foray into television

The competition between the NFL and the AAFC to hire players, and the simultaneous raising of the NFL team roster limit from 28 to the prewar level of 33,[139] caused the NFL payrolls to increase by 250% by the end of the 1946 NFL season.[123]

The average attendance per game reported[140] by the NFL had been larger than the AAFC in 1946,[141] but the AAFC would surpass the NFL in 1947,[142] and 1948.[143] However after the end of 1948 NFL season, the NFL had not shown a league wide profit for three years in a row,[144] and neither had the AAFC.[145] After having introducing a 75 mile blackout radius around Chicago, wherein regular season home games would not be televised,[146] Halas sold the rights for the Western Conference title game in 1948 for about the same amount as he received for the entire 1947 season.[147][148] Bell and representatives from both leagues met in Philadelphia at the end of the 1948 NFL season and were unsuccessful to coming to terms on a merger,[149] but they had come close.[150] At an ensuing league meeting, Bell informed the owners that attendance records had clearly shown televising games locally had a negative impact on the sale of home tickets.[151]

Bell negotiated the first television contract for the NFL in 1949,[152] when ABC broadcast, on the West Coast only, the 1949 championship game.[153][154]

Bill Radovich played for the Detroit Lions in and then left the NFL and played for the Los Angeles Dons in the AAFC.[155][156] Subsequently, Radovich was blacklisted by the NFL and was prevented from gaining employment with a team from the Pacific Coast League.[157][158] Unable to land a job in the NFL or the Pacific Coast League, Radovich filed suit against the NFL seeking damages.[159] The case weighed very heavily on Bell as it worked its way through the judicial system. Bert and the owners were advised in the fall of 1949 by John C. that a colleague of his thought the case was not winnable, albeit he personally thought it was "'50-50'".[160]

During this time, the AAFC was still signing as many good players as the NFL.[161] The average attendance in the NFL dropped again in the 1949 season to 23,196[162] and the league again did not show a profit.[144] The primary obstacle in a merger was in making the requests of Paul Brown, coach of the perennial AAFC champion Cleveland Browns requests amenable to the NFL owners.[163] Bell finally gathered enough support from the NFL owners to override objections,[164] and on December 9, 1949, the leagues merged. Bell would stay on in his role as commissioner. Three AAFC teams (the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts) would be incorporated into the NFL.[165][166] Throughout the entire process, Brown had felt that Bell treated the AAFC, and the Browns in particular, very fairly.[167]

Bell, seeking to capitalize on the residual rivalry between the AAFC and the NFL, Bell then "exquisite dramatic" and business sense by scheduling the 1949 NFL champion Eagles against the former perennial AAFC champion Browns in the 1950 season opener.[168][169]

However, Bell's handling of the NFL's conflict with the AAFC was viewed as a personal triumph,[170] and contract was changed again from a five-year to a 10-year pact at the same salary.[171] Bell then bought his first house and moved his family into Narberth, Pennsylvania.[111]

Television era (1950-1958)

Blackout policy solidified

By the beginning of 1950, depending on sources, four or eight million TV sets existed in America,[127][148] but revenue from radio broadcasts still far outpaced that from television.[127] The NFL mandated home games had to be locally blacked out for the 1950 NFL season, with the exception of the Los Angeles Rams.[151] As a result of this blackout policy, the U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation into the NFL's possible violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.[172] The Rams attendance dropped off by almost 50%. The only explanation was televising home games was detrimental to attendance.[173][174] A league-wide drop in attendance from broadcasting home games would be a financial disaster for the NFL.[175] Nevertheless, at league meetings in early 1951, Bell pushed through a motion that teams could still televise their home games if they and the visiting team both agreed. Also, Bell's salary was increased to $40,000 (presently, $338,201) a year for the remainder of his contract.[176][177] However, prior to the start of the 1951 NFL season, Bell reimposed the blackout rule.[178][179] In the spring, Bell negotiated a TV contract with Dumont to televise the NFL championship game for $95,000 for each of the next five years. [180][181][182][175]

In October, the Justice Department filed suit against the NFL over its blackout rules. Bell told the Chicago Tribune, "You can't give fans a game for free on TV and also expect them to go to the ballpark". Nevertheless, the suit was ordered to trial for January 1952.[183] After the season concluded, Bell gained control over the setting of television policy for all teams in the NFL.[173][184] In May 1953, Bell negotiated a deal with DuMont Television Network granting them the rights to nationally broadcast certain regular season games.[185][186] The revenue from this contract was split equally amongst all the teams and amounted to about $50,000 (presently, $410,612) for each team.[187][185] In November, the Justice Department's case against the NFL's television policy was decided.[188][189] The judge's decision permitted the blackout policy but forbid Bell, or the NFL franchises collectively, from negotiating a TV contract;[190] The judge wrote not allowing the blackout policy could result in all the teams in the NFL becoming bankrupt.[191] This decision, however, was subject to a possible reversal by a superior court;[192] nevertheless, Bell was ecstatic.[184]

In 1953, Bell forced one of the owners of the Cleveland Browns to sell all of his shares in the team because he was found to have been betting on Browns' football games.[193]

Marketing of the NFL

Bell's focus, with respect to television, was to showcase the NFL's best assets—the players. As a result, Bell mandated an all-star game, the Pro Bowl, be played at the end of each season.[194] But in the early 1950s, play sometimes denigrated to borderline assault and battery[195] with players trying to take out opposing teams star players.[196][197] Bell responded in an interview to charges the NFL had dirty players by saying, "'... I have never seen a maliciously dirty football player in my life and I don't believe there are any maliciously dirty players in the National Football League.'"[198] Nevertheless, Bell mandated broadcasts would have to follow a strict rule of conduct. TV announcers would not be permitted to criticize the game, and neither fights, nor injuries, could be televised. Bell said announcers were "'salesman for professional football'" and "'we are selling football'" and "'we do not want kids believing that engaging in fights is the way to play football.'"[198][199] Bell was criticized frequently for censoring TV broadcasts, a charge he dismissed as not pertinent because he was advertising a product on TV and was not impeding the print media.[200] When CBS and NBC took over the rights to broadcast NFL games in 1956,[201][202] Bell made it a point to advise the franchises to avoid denigrating the games or the officials of the games—on, or off the field. He wrote that the new relationship with CBS and NBC would give "' our greatest opportunity to sell the National Football League and professional football. Everyone must do all in his power to present to the public the greatest games in football combined with the finest sportsmanship.'"[203]


In Radovich v. National Football League, the Supreme Court ruled in 1957 in favor of Radovich. Furthermore, the court declared the NFL was subject to antitrust laws.[204][205] The implications from the Court's ruling were that the legality of the draft and of the NFL's reserve clause was dubious.[204][206] Furthermore, the Court delineated a disparity in American professional sports which the Court said was "unrealistic, inconsistent, or illogical"; professional baseball was exempt from antitrust laws, but other professional sports were not.[207][208][209] The Court suggested it was Congress's responsibility to legislate uniformity across all of professional sports.[205] Congress immediately scheduled hearings on the ramifications of the ruling. Bell pressed a case in the media for the NFL being legislatively granted an exemption from antitrust regulations. Bell registered himself as a Congressional lobbyist and then claimed to the media that the NFL was a sport and not a business.[210]

The House Judiciary subcommittee met in July 1957. The chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Emanuel Celler of New York, argued that the NFL draft was illegal and should be abolished.[211] Red Grange testified before the committee and rejected Celler's assertions and said that the draft was essential and attested to having never heard of any college football players complain about the draft system.[211][212] Representatives of the NFLPA appeared before Congress and explained that the draft and the reserve clause were anti-labor. At the time, a large portion of the American population was in unions. Members of Congress were unmoved by Bell's arguments, and it appeared as if Congress was going to revoke the NFL's implementation of the draft. Faced with Congress becoming more intimately involved with the running of the NFL, Bell formally recognized the NFLPA and declared he would negotiate with the NFLPA. His decision was heralded in the media as a "master stroke" in thwarting Congressional legal maneuvers.[213] However, Bell was speaking only for himself, with no formal consent from the owners. At an ensuing NFL meeting, Rooney explained that the owners had to recognize the NFLPA or else Bell would have to be removed as commissioner.[214] In order for the owners to formally recognize the NFLPA, they had to agree in a vote that required a supermajority.[215][216] Finally, Bell was able to take Carroll Rosenbloom, owner of the Baltimore Colts, privately aside and persuaded him to vote for recognizing the NFLPA.[214] The ensuing vote passed and the owners agreed to the requests from the NFLPA.[217]

The Greatest Game ever played

For the 1958 season, the durations of timeouts was increased from 60 to 90 seconds[218][219] and Bell created a new rule which instructed referees to call a few TV timeouts during a game—a change which brought criticism from sportswriters.[220] The 1958 NFL Championship Game became the first NFL championship game decided in overtime.[221] The game was believed to be the greatest football ever played by some contemporaries in the media.[222] The game further increased football's marketability to television advertising, that had begun after the Giants had won the 1956 NFL Championship Game,[223] and the drama associated with the sudden-death overtime was the catalyst.[224][225] Years later, after witnessing Bell openly crying after the game, Raymond Berry attributed it Bell's immediate understanding of the impact the game would have on the popularity of the sport.[226][227]

Last Days (1959)

The death of Tim Mara in February 1959 unsettled Bell, who suffered a heart attack that month.[228] Bell converted to Catholicism in the summer of 1959 because of the lifelong urging of his wife,[136] Mara's death, and his enduring friendship with Rooney,[229] a practicing Catholic.[230][231] Bell had been advised by his doctor to avoid going to football games, to which he responded, "I'd rather die watching football than in my bed with my boots off."[228] In the fall, Bell and his children attended an Eagles game at Franklin Field on October 11. The Eagles held complimentary box seats for Bell and guests to watch the game. But Bell preferred to buy his own tickets and sit among the other fans.[232] Sitting behind the endzone during the fourth quarter of the game, Bell suffered a heart attack and died later that day at age sixty-four.[233] Bell's funeral, on October 14, 1959, was held at Narberth's St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church. Monsignor Cornelius P. Brennan delivered the eulogy. Dignitaries, close friends, and hundreds of admirers attended the mass. Among the many floral arrangements placed at Bell's funeral ceremony was one presented by members of the NFLPA.[234]Dominic Olejniczak, president of the Packers, and the 11 owners of the NFL were honorary pallbearers. Bell was interred at Cavalry Cemetery in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.[235]


Broadway actress Frances Upton, a devout Roman Catholic, and Bell secretly married on January 4, 1934, and publicly married on May 6, 1934, at St. Madeleine Sophie Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia.[236] They had three children,[233] sons Bert, Jr. (born February 19, 1936), John "Upton", (born October 13, 1937), and daughter Jane Upton (born February 1, 1942).[237]

Legacy and honors

On September 7, 1963, Bell was in the first enshrinement class for the Professional Football Hall of Fame.[238] He was inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000,[239] the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame charter class of 2004,[240] and Haverford's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.[14] The Maxwell Football Club, which Bell founded in 1937,[241] has presented the best NFL player of the year with the Bert Bell Award since 1959.[242] The Bert Bell Benefit Bowl was played annually from 1960 through 1969.[238]

Commissioners of sports were, idealistically, designed to be completely neutral in mediating disputes between players and owners, but in reality they tended to back the owners over the players.[243] Bell, however, was contemporaneously seen as ensuring the owners treated the players fairly.[244] As part-owner, or owner, of an NFL team, Bell never had an African American player on any of his teams. His son, Bert Jr., believed the mere discussion of whether his father was a racist was not warranted and believed his father's support of Emlen Tunnell in becoming an NFL player was sufficient evidence.[136] Bell's ability to mediate disputes between owners, such as with the schedule, was unequaled in the history of the NFL.[245] Years later, Rooney believed one of the best things the owners ever did was to let Bell make up the schedule.[246]

After negotiating a pension plan in 1959, little progress was made between the NFLPA and the NFL. Rozelle was not as willing a participant as entering into negotiations with the NFLPA as Bell had willing to be when Bell recognized the NFLPA before Congress in 1958.[247][248] The first NFL players' pension plan, the Bert Bell National Football League Retirement Plan, was approved on May 24, 1962.[249]

Bell was contemporaneously criticized as being too strict with his blackout policy when he refused to let sold-out games to be televised locally.[250][251] Nevertheless, Bell's balancing of television broadcast against protecting game attendance during the 1950s had left professional football as the "healthiest professional sport in America" at the time of his passing.[122] and he was the "...leading protagonist in pro football's evolution into America's major sport."[252] Bell had understood that the NFL needed a cooperative television contract with revenue-sharing but he was never able to overcome the obstacles to achieve it.[253]

Bell was not completely successful in preventing players[254] or owners[255] from betting on games. However, Bell's proactive measures in ensuring games were not tampered with by gamblers[256] created the foundation of an NFL policy that continues to this day.[257]

Bell's implementation of the draft did not show immediate results as perennial losers, such as the Eagles and Cardinals, standings' did not improve until 1947.[258] However, Bell's rationale for creating the NFL draft, to make the league more competitive, was "hailed by contemporaries and sports historians as a move that made the NFL more" popular[259] and was "the single greatest contributor to the NFL's prosperity." in the NFL's first eighty-four years.[260] Bell had often said, "On any given Sunday, any team in our league can beat any other team."[261]

Published works

  • Bell, Bert, "The Money Game." Liberty Magazine, XIII (November 28, 1936), pp. 59–60.
  • Bell, Bert, "Offensive Football." Popular Football, (Winter 1941), p. 111.
  • Bell, Bert, "This is Commissioner Bell Speaking." Pro Football Illustrated, XII (1952), pp. 60–63.
  • Bell, Bert; with Martin, Paul, "Do the Gamblers Make a Sucker Out of You?." Saturday Evening Post, CCXXI (November 6, 1948), p. 28.
  • Bell, Bert; with Pollock, Ed, "Let's Throw Out the Extra Point." Sport, XV (October 1953), p. 24–25.[262]
  • Bell, Bert (1957). The Story of Professional Football in Summary. Bala Cynwyd, PA: National Football League.

See also


  1. ^ Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 6. (cf. Claassen p. 163, Time Magazine (11/29/1954), Yost p. 54)
  2. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 41. (cf. Didinger and Lyons p. 6, Rothe p. 34, King p. 20, and Lyons p. 1)
  3. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 1. (cf. Didinger with Lyons p. 6.)
  4. ^ Marquis, 1934, p. 286. (cf. Lyons p. 2, Yost p. 67)
  5. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 3.
  6. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 41. (cf. Lyons pp. 1-3)
  7. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 2.
  8. ^ "PENN FOOTBALL: ORIGINS TO 1901". Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, pp. 3–4.
  10. ^ Sullivan, 1968, p. 23-24.
  11. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, p. 2-3, 5.
  12. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 4.
  13. ^ a b King, 2005, p. 21.
  14. ^ a b "Bert Bell heads Haverford School Hall of Fame induction class". March 14, 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  15. ^ Marquis, 1934, p. 286.
  16. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, p. 5–7.
  17. ^ Rothe, 1950, p. 34.
  18. ^ Zeitlin, Dave (July 28, 2009). "The Man Who Modernized Pro Football". Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  19. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 6–7.
  20. ^ a b c d MacCambridge, 2009, p. 1080.
  21. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 7–8.
  22. ^ Hibner, 1993, p. 22.
  23. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 9.
  24. ^ MacCambridge, 2009, p. 1440.
  25. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, p. 10.
  26. ^ Hibner, 1993, p. 27.
  27. ^ Hibner, 1993, p. 25.
  28. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 11–15.
  29. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 16–20.
  30. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 20.
  31. ^ Umphlett, 1992, pp. 143–144.
  32. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 20–21. (cf. MacCambridge, 2005, p. 42, Rothe, p. 34, Willis, pp. 310-311)
  33. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 22–23.
  34. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 25–27.
  35. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 30–32.
  36. ^ "Bell Signed by Temple". New York Times: pp. 42. 1929-12-04. Retrieved 2011-11-08.  (cf. Rothe, p. 34, Lyons p. 28, Willis p. 310.
  37. ^ MacCambridge, 2009, p. 1081.
  38. ^ Lyons lists Warner becoming head coach in 1934. Lyons, 2010, p. 28.
  39. ^ Lyons writes, against common sense, it was Jack Mara, Tim's son, as the person he befriended. p. 29. Lyons, 2010, pp. 23, 29.
  40. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 49.
  41. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 56, 95.
  42. ^ Westcott, 2001, p. 101. (cf. Willis p. 303-304, Algeo pp. 13-15, Ruck; Patterson, and Weber p. 95)
  43. ^ Professional sports were then permitted to play on Sundays between 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Permit No. 1 was granted to Bell for a game the Eagles hosted against the Bears on November, 12 1933. Algeo, 2006, p. 13-15.
  44. ^ Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 28.
  45. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 46-47. (cf. Claassen p. 336, MacCambridge (2005) p. 42, Peterson p. 112, Westcott p. 101)
  46. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 47. (cf. MacCambridge, 2005, p. 42.)
  47. ^ Lyons writes the debt amounted to $11,000 (presently, $194,966) and there exist minor omissions of details in this transaction among authors (e.g., Didinger and Lyons p. 5, Peterson p. 112-113, Westcott p. 102). Lyons, 2010, p. 47.
  48. ^ When the Frankford team folded, the NFL made it a precondition to approving the next NFL franchise in Philadelphia that the new franchise would have to guarantee 25% of Frankford's debt. Horrigan, Joe. "National Football League Transactions" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  49. ^ Willis, 2010, p. 310–311. (cf. Coenen p. 237)
  50. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 48–50.
  51. ^ a b Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 255.
  52. ^ Algeo, 2006, p. 38.
  53. ^ Levy, 2003, p. 55.
  54. ^ Barnett, Bob. "Profile: Ray Kemp". Retrieved 16 May 2011.  (cf. Ross p. 40-45, 50, Piascik p. 2-5, Willis p. 314, Peterson p. 7)
  55. ^ Willis, 2010, p. 327–328.
  56. ^ Gill, Bob. "The St. Louis Gunners" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  57. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 54.
  58. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 56. (cf. MacCambridge 2005 p. 43.)
  59. ^ Peterson, 1997, p. 119. (cf. Williams p. 41)
  60. ^ Willis, 2010, p. 341–343. (cf. Lyons p. 57-58, DeVito p. 84, Didinger and Lyons p. 256)
  61. ^ Williams, 2004, pp. 41–42. (cf. Peterson p. 119)
  62. ^ a b MacCambridge, 2005, p. 43. (cf. Lyons p. 63)
  63. ^ Claassen, 1963, p. 335. (cf. Lyons p. 63)
  64. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 63. (cf. Claassen p. 342)
  65. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 64.
  66. ^ Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 256.
  67. ^ Willis, 2010, p. 355.
  68. ^ Willis, 2010, p. 358. (cf. Hessions p. 12)
  69. ^ Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 257.
  70. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 72-73.
  71. ^ Didinger; Lyons, 2005, p. 258.
  72. ^ Algeo, 2006, p. 16.
  73. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, pp. 183-184. (cf. Herskowitz p. 149, Lyons p. 81-82)
  74. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 87.
  75. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 187.
  76. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 303. (cf. MacCambridge, 2005 p. 45)
  77. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 187, 223.
  78. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 88. (cf. MacCambridge, 2005, p. 45)
  79. ^ "Rooney and Bell Views Differ After Early Look at Steelers". August 10, 1941. Retrieved 2 September 2011.  (cf. Claassen p. 247, Lyons p. 90, Leblanc p. 62)
  80. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 90–91.
  81. ^ a b Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 225. (cf. MacCambridge, 2005, p. 45)
  82. ^ Algeo, 2006 p. 29, 35, 46.
  83. ^ DeVito, 2006, p. 103.
  84. ^ Algeo, 2006 p. 50–51. (cf. Lyons p. 99)
  85. ^ Algeo, 2006, p. 66.(cf. Lyons p. 100)
  86. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 106. (cf. Algeo p. 207-208)
  87. ^ Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 71.
  88. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 13.
  89. ^ Davis, 2005, p. 196–197.
  90. ^ Littlewood, 1990, p. 166.
  91. ^ Staudohar, 1986, p. 56.
  92. ^ a b Davis, 2005, p. 199. (cf. Piascik p. 11)
  93. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 228.
  94. ^ Davis, 2005, p. 200–201.
  95. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 120. (cf. Coenen p. 182)
  96. ^ Whittingham, 1984, p. 229.
  97. ^ Claassen, 1963, p. 251-252.
  98. ^ Littlewood, 1990, p. 133.
  99. ^ Littlewood, 1990, p. 157–158.
  100. ^ Peterson, 1997, p. 149. (cf. Piascik p. 52-54, MacCambridge 2005 p. 14)
  101. ^ Littlewood, 1990, p. 161.
  102. ^ Carroll; with Gershman, Neft, and Thorn, 1999, p. 527.
  103. ^ Peterson, 1997, p. 159.
  104. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 15.
  105. ^ Ruck does not explain the lack of respect for Bell. Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 222.
  106. ^ Davis, 2005, p. 201.
  107. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 116–117. (cf. MacCambridge 2005, p. 15
  108. ^ Williams, 2004 p. 41.
  109. ^ "Layden Quits; Bell New Czar". Milwaukee Sentinel. 1946-01-12. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  110. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 114.
  111. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, pp. 166-167.
  112. ^ a b MacCambridge, 2005, pp. 15-16 (cf. Davis 2005 p. 201-202, Yost p. 57-58, Lyons p. 117-118)
  113. ^ Rathet; Brown, 1984, p. 210.
  114. ^ Willis, 2010, p. 302, 303, 308, 371, 383.
  115. ^ Yost, 2006, p. 61.
  116. ^ a b Sullivan, 1968, p. 26.
  117. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 40.
  118. ^ Maule, 1964, p. 242.
  119. ^ a b Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 248.
  120. ^ "Merle Hapes, 75, Ex-Giant Fullback". New York Times. July 21, 1994. Retrieved 2011-04-29.  (cf. Coenen p. 127, Peterson p. 159-160, MacCambridge 2005 p. 48, Pervin p. 15, Lyons p. 130).
  121. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 130-131. (cf. Pervin p. 16, Davis 2005 p. 207)
  122. ^ a b Hirschberg, Al (1958-11-23). "He Calls the Signals in Pro Football". The New York Times Magazine: pp. 23+. 
  123. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, p. 129.
  124. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 289. (cf. DeVito p. 83, Willis p. 301, Maule p. 242)
  125. ^ Powers, 1984, p. 46. (cf. Coenen 153)
  126. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, pp. 132-133.
  127. ^ a b c Coenen, 2005, p. 153.
  128. ^ "Bell Planning Campaign to Kill Gambling". January 10, 1947.,1968248&dq=bert+bell&hl=en. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  129. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 131-132.
  130. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 203–204. (cf. MacCambridge 2005 pp. 48-49)
  131. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 131. (cf. MacCambridge 2005 pp. 48-49)
  132. ^ Davis, 2005, p. 208–209. (cf. MacCambridge 2005 pp. 48-49)
  133. ^ Yost, 2006, p. 60.(cf. Daley p. 193)
  134. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 134–135.(cf. MacCambridge 2005 pp. 48-49)
  135. ^ Hirschberg, Al (1958-11-23). "He Calls the Signals in Pro Football". The New York Times Magazine: pp. 23, 30, 32, 35, 37. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  136. ^ a b c Lyons, 2010, p. 142.
  137. ^ Patton, 1984, p. 48.
  138. ^ U.S. House Committee III, 1957, p. 2587. (cf. Summerall with Levin p. 36-37)
  139. ^ Davis, 2005, p. 203–204.
  140. ^ The attendance figures were adulterated by the NFL and AAFC because they were in a marketing battle for popularity. Coenen, 2005, p. 125–126.
  141. ^ AAFC about 25,000 to NFL about 33,000. Coenen, 2005, p. 125.
  142. ^ AAFC 32,651 to NFL 30,624. Piascik, 2007, p. 83.
  143. ^ AAFC 28,904 to NFL 25,421 Piascik, 2007, p. 119.
  144. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, p. 171.
  145. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 50.
  146. ^ Davis, 2005, p. 259-260, 266, 268–269.
  147. ^ Davis, 2005, pp. 226-227, 268–269.
  148. ^ a b Peterson, 1997, p. 196.
  149. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 146.
  150. ^ Piascik, 2007, p. 126.
  151. ^ a b Coenen, 2005, p. 154.
  152. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 290.
  153. ^ Lyons writes the traditional, 60-40 player bonus for playing in the game was augmented by $14,000 from the television broadcast. If Coenen's value of $20,000 is applicable, Lyons does not mention what was done with the other $6,000. Lyons, 2010, p. 156–157.
  154. ^ Coenen seems to incorrectly imply the NFL received $20,000 for the 1948 championship game when he means to refer this to the 1949 championship game, but does not explain what they did with it and who negotiated the contract. Coenen, 2005, p. 155–156.
  155. ^ Lyons p. 154 and the New York Times incorrectly lists him playing for the Los Angeles Seals. Carroll; with Gershman, Neft, and Thorn, 1999, p. 1197.
  156. ^ Piascik, 2007, p. 27.
  157. ^ U.S. House Committee III, 1957, pp. 2778-2779.
  158. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 154
  159. ^ Piascik, 2007, p. 27–28.
  160. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 154-155
  161. ^ Piascik, 2007, p. 131.
  162. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 101.
  163. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 151.
  164. ^ Davis, 2005, p. 229.
  165. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 150, 163.
  166. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 52.
  167. ^ Brown; with Clary, 1979, p. 194.
  168. ^ Peterson, 1997, p. 191-192.
  169. ^ Brown; with Clary, 1979, p. 197.
  170. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 53.
  171. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 147.
  172. ^ Coenen, 2005, p. 157.
  173. ^ a b Peterson, 1997, p. 197.
  174. ^ Hessions, 1987, p. 45.
  175. ^ a b Rader, 1984, pp. 86-87.
  176. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 174–175.
  177. ^ "Pro Teams End Draft; Give Bert Bell Raise". St. Petersburg Times: pp. 19. 1951-01-20. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  178. ^ Davis, 2005, p. 271.
  179. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 73.
  180. ^ Hall, Dan (1951-05-22). "Hallucinations". St. Petersburg Times (17). Retrieved 2011-10-31. "Bell said the $95,000 received each year under terms of the agreement will be placed in the players' pool." 
  181. ^ "Pro Football and DuMont Sign a $475,000 TV Pact". New York Times (43). 1951-05-22. Retrieved 2011-10-31. "Bell said the $95,000 received each year under terms of the agreement will be placed in the players' pool." 
  182. ^ "Fans Rush for Tickets to NFL Playoff Game". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: pp. 18. 1951-12-18. Retrieved 2011-10-30. The Pittsburgh Press, Patton p. 35, and Lyons p. 179 incorrectly state the 1951 NFL Championship Game rights were sold for $75,000.
  183. ^ Coenen, 2005, p. 157–158.
  184. ^ a b As a result of the return of blacking out their home games for the 1951 NFL season, the Rams attendance returned to, approximately, the same level as their 1949 attendance. Rader, 1984, p. 86.
  185. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, p. 196.
  186. ^ "Westinghouse to Sponsor Professional TV Football". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 14, 1953. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  187. ^ Coenen, 2005, p. 156, 162.
  188. ^ Peterson, 1997, p. 198.
  189. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 199–200.
  190. ^ Patton, 1984, p. 55.
  191. ^ U.S. House Committee III, 1957, p. 2797.
  192. ^ Paul, 1974, p. 28-29.
  193. ^ Brown; with Clary, 1979, p. 230-232.
  194. ^ Brown; with Clary, 1979, p. 214.
  195. ^ Ratterman; with Deindorfer, 1962, p. 125.
  196. ^ Graham, Otto (October 11, 1954). "Football Is Getting Too Vicious". CNN. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  197. ^ Piascik, 2007, p. 155.
  198. ^ a b Maule, Tex (January 21, 1957). "I Don't Believe There Is Dirty Football.". CNN. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  199. ^ King, 2005, p. 37.
  200. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 282.
  201. ^ Patton writes NBC paid $100,000 for the rights to broadcast the NFL championship game. Patton, 1984, p. 37.
  202. ^ Rader writes CBS paid "slightly more than one million dollars" to broadcast regular season games. Rader, 1984, p. 87.
  203. ^ Maraniss, 1999, p. 168-169.
  204. ^ a b Coenen, 2005, p. 182.
  205. ^ a b Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 293.
  206. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 255–256.
  207. ^ Burton, Rick (December 19, 1999). "Backtalk; From Hearst to Stern: The Shaping of an Industry Over a Century". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  208. ^ "Pro Football Would Welcome Probe, Says NFL Commissioner Bert Bell". February 26, 1957.,6475798&dq=bert+bell&hl=en. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  209. ^ U.S. House Committee I, 1957, p. 1.
  210. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 261.
  211. ^ a b Carroll, 1999, p. 199.
  212. ^ U.S. House Committee III, 1957, p. 2596.
  213. ^ Larsen, Lloyd (August 2, 1957). "Bell's Player Recognition Could be Real Winner for Pro Football". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  214. ^ a b Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 78.
  215. ^ U.S. House Committee III, 1957, p. 2580a-2580at.
  216. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 294.
  217. ^ The players were granted $50 pay for exhibition games, a $5,000 minimum yearly salary, a continuation of their contracts if they became injured, and free medical care during the life of their contract. Staudohar, 1986, p. 63.
  218. ^ Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 121.
  219. ^ Maule, 1964, p. 245.
  220. ^ Powers, 1984, p. 84.
  221. ^ Gifford uses literary license when he writes "The overtime rule had been instituted for this game..." p. 210 Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 207-208, 210, 214.
  222. ^ Maule, Tex (January 19, 1959). "Here's Why It Was The Best Football Game Ever". CNN. Retrieved 18 August 2011.  (cf. Gifford; with Richmond p. 230)
  223. ^ Patton, 1984, p. 41.
  224. ^ Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 213.
  225. ^ Powers, 1984, p. 88.
  226. ^ Gifford; with Richmond, 2008, p. 229.
  227. ^ "Greatest Game: Remembering ’58 NFL finale". December, 13 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  228. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, p. 308.
  229. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 311.
  230. ^ Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 26.
  231. ^ Ruck; Patterson, and Weber, 2010, p. 84.
  232. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 275.
  233. ^ a b Bernstein, Ralph (October 12, 1959). "Heart Attack Is Fatal To Bert Bell". Times Daily.,4791016. Retrieved 2010-11-15.  Other authors alternately list his age at death (e.g., Ruck p. 313, Lyons p. 306) and his date of death (cf. Lyons p. 306 and at (2/24/2011)).
  234. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 312.
  235. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 311-312.
  236. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 33–38, 41.
  237. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 60, 70, 92.
  238. ^ a b Lyons, 2010, p. 315.
  239. ^ "Penn Athletics Hall of Fame". Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  240. ^ "Inductees". Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  241. ^ Rooney; Halaas and Masich, 2007, p. 238.
  242. ^ Pagano, Robert (1998-05). "Robert 'Tiny' Maxwell". College Football Historical Society I (IV): 1–3. Retrieved 2011-10-01.  (cf. Lyons p. 314)
  243. ^ Staudohar, 1986, p. 9.
  244. ^ Riger; with Maule, 1960 p. 9.
  245. ^ MacCambridge, 2005, p. 39.
  246. ^ Paul, 1974, p. 263.
  247. ^ Berry deprecates the importance of the NFL's agreement to a pension plan with the owners in 1959. Berry; with Gould and Staudohar, 1986, p. 96.
  248. ^ Staudohar writes: "In 1959 the [NFLPA] achieved another breakthrough when it persuaded the owners to provide a pension plan for the players." Staudohar, 1986, p. 63.
  249. ^ "NFL Adopts Pensions for Five Year Vets". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. May 25, 1962. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  250. ^ "Wonderful World Of Sport". CNN. January 6, 1958. Retrieved 17 August 2011.  (cf. Coenen p. 167)
  251. ^ Smith, Lyall (October 4, 1954). "Detroit Free Press". CNN. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  252. ^ Ruck; Patterson and Weber, 2010, p. 222.
  253. ^ Patton, 1984, pp. 52–53.
  254. ^ Oriard, 2007, p. 13. (cf. Gifford with Richmond p. 29.)
  255. ^ Brown; with Clary, 1979, pp. 230-232.
  256. ^ Lyons, 2010, pp. 131–132. (cf. MacCambridge 2005 pp. 48-49.)
  257. ^ Yost, 2006, pp. 60–61.
  258. ^ Coenen, 2005, p. 90. (cf. MacCambridge 2005 p. 41)
  259. ^ Coenen, 2005, p. 89.
  260. ^ Yost, 2006, p. 55.
  261. ^ Lyons, 2010, p. 287. (cf. MacCambridge 2005 p. 107)
  262. ^ Smith, 1993, p. 156.


Primary materials

The most exhaustive account of Bell is Robert Lyon's On Any Given Sunday.

  • Coenen, Craig R. (2005). From Sandlots to the Super Bowl: The National Football League, 1920–1967. Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 1-57233-447-9
  • Lyons, Robert S. (2010). On Any Given Sunday, A Life of Bert Bell. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. ISBN 978-1-59213-731-2
  • MacCambridge, Michael (2005). America's Game. New York: Anchor Books ISBN 978-0-307-48143-6
  • Peterson, Robert W. (1997). Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507607-9
  • Ruck, Rob; with Patterson, Maggie Jones and Weber, Michael P. (2010). Rooney: A Sporting Life. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-2283-0
  • Willis, Chris (2010). The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-7669-9

Secondary materials

  • Organized Professional Team Sports: Part 3. (password protected except at participating U.S. library) by United States House Committee on the Judiciary III, Subcommittee on Antitrust (1957).
  • Algeo, Matthew (2006). Last Team Standing. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press. ISBN ISBN 978-0-306-81472-3
  • Brown, Paul; with Clary, Jack (1979). PB, the Paul Brown Story. New York: Atheneum.
  • Davis, Jeff (2005). Papa Bear, The Life and Legacy of George Halas. New York: McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-146054-3
  • Hibner, John Charles (1993). The Rose Bowl, 1902–1929. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers. ISBN 0-89950-775-1 pp. 22–30.
  • Littlewood, Thomas B. (1990). Arch: A Promoter, not a Poet: The Story of Arch Ward. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. ISBN 0-8138-0277-6
  • Patton, Phil (1984). Razzle-Dazzle: The Curious Marriage of Television and Professional Football. Garden City, NY: The Dial Press. ISBN 0-385-27879-9
  • Piascik, Andy (2007). The Best Show in Football: The 1946–1955 Cleveland Browns. Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58979-360-6
  • Powers, Ron (1984). Supertube: The Rise of Television Sports. New York: Coward-McCann. ISBN 0-698-11253-9
  • Rader, Benjamin G. (1984). In its Own Image: How Television Has Transformed Sports. New York: The Free Press. ISBN 0-02-925700-X pp. 83–99.
  • Staudohar, Paul D. (1986). The Sports Industry and Collective Bargaining. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press. ISBN 0-87546-117-4

Tertiary materials

  • When Pride Still Mattered, A Life of Vince Lombardi, by David Maraniss, 1999, (ISBN 0-684-84418-4) ISBN 978-0-618-90499-0
  • Organized Professional Team Sports: Part 1. (password protected except at participating U.S. library) by United States House Committee on the Judiciary I, Subcommittee on Antitrust (1957).
  • Grim, District Judge (1953-11-12). "United States v. National Football League, 116 F. Supp. 319 - Dist. Court, ED Pennsylvania 1953".,33. 
  • Bayoff, Frederic G.; with Morgan, Brad (1986). Lexis Press: Complete Index to Sports Illustrated, Volume I, 1954–1969. Ann Arbor, MI: Lexis Press. ISBN 0-317-47454-5
  • Berry, Robert C.; with Gould, William B. and Staudohar, Paul D. (1986). Labor Relations in Professional Sports. Dover, MA: Auburn House Pub. Co. ISBN 0-86569-137-1
  • Claassen, Harold (Spike) (1963). The History of Professional Football. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
  • Carroll, Bob; with Gershman, Michael, Neft, David, and Thorn, John (1999). Total Football:The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-270174-6
  • Carroll, John M. (1999). Red Grange and the Rise of Modern Football. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-02384-6
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